Budget pork-free — House leaders

December 13, 2019
Martin Romualdez
NEW LAKAS MEMBER. Lakas-CMD Party President and House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez (6th left) officiates at the oathtaking of new Lakas-CMD member Lone District of Southern Leyte Roger Mercado (5th right) during the Oath taking Ceremony and Lakas-CMD Members and Friends Christmas Party at Radisson Hotel SM North Edsa Quezon Cty. Witnessing the event are from right Magsasaka Party List Rep. Joseph Canbatbat, Lakas Vice Chairman Rep. Fredenil Castro, PAGCOR Director Gabby Claudio, Former President,Speaker and Lakas Chairman Emeritus Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Lakas VP for Luzon Mikey Arroyo, Lakas Secretary General Propero Pichay, Pangasinan 4th District Rep. Christopher De Venecia, Lapu-Lapu City Lone District Rep. Paza Radaza and 1st District of Zamboanga Sibugay Rep. Sharky Palma. Photo by Ver Noveno

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Dutert has instructed the lawmakers to ensure that the budget is pork-free and not questionable.

This is according to the Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab as he defended the ratification of the budget measure and assured public that the 2020 national budget contains no insertions or parked funds.

“In compliance with the express instructions of the President, the 2020 GAB contains no pork, no last-minute insertions and no parked funds,” Ungab said in a statement.

Ungab issued a statement following reports that President Duterte will  veto questionable provisions of the General Appropriations Bill which contained the 2020 national budget amounting to P4.1 trillion.

President Duterte warned solons against insertions and threatened to veto the budget.

The 2020 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) approved by the bicameral conference committee was ratified by both Houses and is set to submit to the President on December 21 for his signature.

Ungab said the bill is a powerful tool that will help deliver President Duterte’s goal of a safe and comfortable life for all.

“It represents the clear 2020 vision of the President and his economic strategy anchored on increased spending in infrastructure and human capital development. The projects outlined under the 2020 budget  will help sustain our status as one of Asia’s best-performing economies,” Ungab said.

“The budget process was undertaken with utmost transparency,” he added.

According to Ungab, attempts to label the 2020 budget pork-ridden by constantly redefining “pork” is unfair and misleading.

The Supreme Court has already declared pork barrel funds as unconstitutional and clearly defined what constitutes pork. The 2020 budget is pork-free.

“All changes made in the GAB were aligned with the President’s priorities and were based on the recommendations of the Cabinet Departments and other government agencies,” he added.

In his statement, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano assured the public that the 2020 budget is free from pork barrel, parked pork and other questionable allocations.

“2020 is a very symbolic year as it represents a perfect vision -- a vision we share with President Duterte to provide a safe and comfortable life for all Filipinos. Now more than ever is the best time to push for reforms to see this goal through,” Cayetano said.

“We passed a budget with no pork, no parked funds, and no delays with full transparency,” he added.